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Advocates Tout Violence Against Women Act As Essential for Louisiana Women, Families

Sen. Mary Landrieu Backed 2013 Reauthorization, While Congressman Bill Cassidy Voted No

NEW ORLEANS – Advocates in New Orleans today touted the Violence Against Women Act — which was reauthorized in 2013 with the strong support of Sen. Mary Landrieu and despite Congressman Bill Cassidy voting against the bill — as essential for protecting women and families across Louisiana since its passage 20 years ago.

“On this issue, Congressman Cassidy has been negligent at best and, more often than not, hostile on this issue,” said Lynda Woolard, president of the Independent Women’s Organization. “We need legislators like Senator Landrieu who will put politics aside to protect Louisiana women.”

Congressman Cassidy skipped votes to strengthen confidentiality protections for domestic violence victims and expand protections for Native Americans and LGBT victims.

“Both Republican and Democratic presidents have supported reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act since its passage, because they understand that the law saves lives,” said Mary Claire Landry, executive director of the New Orleans Family Justice Center. “The law provides funds for organizations like mine to prevent domestic violence.”

Over the past eight years, the law has provided more than $42 million for Louisiana organizations to fight to end the cycle of abuse.

“The rate of violence against women is so high above the national average in Louisiana, and fighting it requires the support of allies that cut across class, race and socioeconomic lines,” said Deon Haywood, executive director of Women with a Vision. “Senator Landrieu should not be the only one in the Senate election who supports the Violence Against Women Act and who wants to end the cycle of violence against women.”

Senator Landrieu has consistently fought for funding to help similar non-profit organizations expand their operations and end family violence.

“Even now, many places are struggling to deal with sexual assault and violence, which makes the funding that the Violence Against Women Act provides all the more important,” said Elizabeth Wagner, a third-year law student at Tulane University. “Anyone like Congressman Bill Cassidy, who votes against the Violence Against Women Act, does not deserve a promotion.”

Since the passage of VAWA in 1994, domestic violence rates have dropped by more than 60 percent. Today’s event comes after the recent 20-year anniversary of the legislation.

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